How to Turn the Table on a Narcissist in Your Family: It’s Time to Use Their Own Games Against Them

After years of dealing with a narcissistic parent, I discovered a powerful and transformative strategy that allowed me to regain control of my life.

Sometimes, the most effective approach is not to resist their games but to master them.

In this journey, I learned firsthand how to turn the table on a narcissist, using their own tactics to regain control and protect my well-being.

It’s a path that requires patience, resilience, and a deep understanding of their manipulative behavior.

Want to know how I learned to play their game better than they do? Below, I’ll share 15 tricks to help you rewrite the rules and empower yourself in the face of narcissism.

  • Recognizing and anticipating the narcissist’s manipulative tactics will help you understand their strategies and use them against their own games.
  • Developing a strong mindset, practicing self-compassion, and seeking support can help you counteract the negative effects of dealing with a narcissist.
  • Learning to control your emotions is essential when dealing with a narcissist’s emotional manipulation. Recognize their triggers and respond with poise rather than reacting emotionally.

How to Turn the Table on a Narcissist in the Family?

If you’ve ever felt trapped in a relationship with a narcissist in your family, allow me to offer you insights and practical techniques to level the playing field.

It’s not an easy path, but it will empower you to finally set boundaries, protect your well-being, and find your sense of self-worth.

1. Understand Their Games and Use It Against Them

Growing up with a narcissistic parent, I quickly grasped the importance of decoding their manipulative tactics.

I realized that to turn the tables on my narcissistic mother, I needed to become a savvy player in her complicated mind games.

I began by observing her tactics, recognizing patterns of manipulation, gaslighting, and control. Armed with this awareness, I learned to anticipate her moves and stay one step ahead.

By using her strategies against her, I regained a sense of control in the relationship, setting boundaries and protecting my emotional well-being.

This newfound empowerment allowed me to reshape the relationship dynamic I had with my narcissistic mother.

2. Keep Your Mindset Healthy and Strong

Throughout my own journey, I learned that a strong mindset was the key to not only surviving but thriving.

It began with practicing self-compassion and self-worth, counteracting the negative beliefs instilled by my parent’s constant belittling.

Through therapy, self-reflection, and unwavering support from friends and mentors, I gradually rebuilt my self-esteem and confidence.

This mental shift allowed me to break free from the shadow of my mother’s narcissism.

By keeping a healthy and strong mindset, you not only protect yourself but also regain control over your life. This means you wouldn’t be easily swayed by their manipulative tactics.

3. Control Your Emotions at All Times

Learning to control my emotions was a transformative journey. It was no easy feat, especially since my mother’s constant emotional manipulation was aimed to unsettle me.

But I learned to recognize the emotional triggers she uses to manipulate and destabilize me. And by understanding her tactics, I gained the upper hand in our interactions.

This allowed me to respond with poise rather than reacting emotionally to her provocations.

By keeping my emotions in check, I found a way to regain control over my own narrative and protect my mental and emotional well-being.

4. Learn Powerful Body Language

Over time, I discovered that subtle shifts in my non-verbal communication could convey confidence and strength.

When dealing with my narc mother, I now maintain an open and assertive posture, making direct eye contact and using controlled gestures.

This conveys a sense of self-assuredness that challenges my mom’s need for control.

It’s especially effective when she attempts to manipulate me through intimidation or passive-aggressive behavior.

When I learned the power of non-verbal language, I gained a valuable tool to stand my ground and protect my emotional well-being.

5. Focus on the Facts and Don’t Let Them Sway You

One of the most crucial lessons in my journey of dealing with a narcissistic parent was learning to focus on the facts and not allow their manipulative tactics to sway me.

I recall a time when my mother attempted to gaslight me, denying a promise she had made. In the past, I might have doubted myself, but I stood my ground.

I realized that sticking to the facts and trusting my own perceptions was the key to not falling prey to her attempts to twist reality.

By holding onto the truth, I was able to break free from confusion and self-doubt, a pivotal moment in regaining control in our tumultuous relationship.

6. Avoid JADE (Justify, Argue, Defend, Explain)

Here’s a powerful technique that helps me maintain control and protect my well-being: avoiding the trap of JADE (Justify, Argue, Defend, Explain).

When I was younger, my initial reaction to my mother’s manipulative tactics was to justify my actions, argue my point, defend my choices, and endlessly explain myself.

But this only fueled her need for control and left me emotionally drained. It wasn’t until I learned to resist this pattern that I started to regain power.

It was a liberating step toward breaking free from her manipulation.

By refusing to JADE, you’d be able to hold your ground and leave the narcissist without the emotional fuel they sought.

7. Have Your Own Support Group or Alliance

Having a network of friends, mentors, or support groups that understand the dynamics of such relationships can provide invaluable guidance and reassurance.

These individuals offer empathy and a safe space where your thoughts and feelings are valued and validated.

Building this support system helps you regain emotional strength and protect your well-being when dealing with a narcissistic parent’s manipulation and emotional abuse.

As for me, they became my lifeline, giving me strength and guiding me to a path to healing.

8. Tell Them No, Almost Always

One way to drive a narcissist nuts is to say “no” almost always. I used to struggle with this, as my mother had a way of making me feel guilty or selfish for not complying with her demands.

But I realized that saying “no” was a boundary that protected my mental and emotional well-being.

I remember a specific situation when I decided to assert myself by declining one of her unreasonable requests.

The immediate pushback was intense, but holding my ground allowed me to regain a sense of control.

9. Don’t Give Them the Attention They’re Seeking For

Narcissists thrive on attention. Somehow, some way, they need to be the center of it all, and they’ll employ various tactics to make sure they are.

In that case, one way to make a narcissist panic is to deny them the attention they crave.

For example, there was an instance not so long ago where my mother was particularly demanding. I, on the other hand, consciously redirected my focus elsewhere, especially if that person wasn’t her.

By choosing not to make them the center of your world, you’d get under their skin and regain a sense of control in your interactions.

10. Draw Boundaries and Enforce Them

It’s important to show the narcissist in your life that you won’t tolerate their manipulation any longer, even if it means facing their resistance and backlash.

In my experience, narcissists absolutely hate when you establish clear limits, as it threatens their control.

While it was a challenging process, it became a turning point in reclaiming my emotional well-being and independence.

11. Call Them Out Whenever They Cross the Line

Narcissists prioritize their own needs over anything else. They spin things in their favor while considering other people’s feelings as secondary.

I recall a specific instance when my mother’s desire always to be right meant I took the blame for something I didn’t do, pushing the limits of what I could tolerate.

It was then that I decided to speak up firmly and assertively, making it clear that her behavior was unacceptable.

In doing so, I regained a sense of control and established that I wouldn’t be manipulated or disregarded any longer.

Choose your battles wisely. Focus on their clear transgressions and calmly assert your boundaries.

12. Establish Your Authority as the Leader

People with narcissistic tendencies often seek to control and manipulate situations, but I discovered that there are strategies you can use to reclaim your autonomy.

It’s essential to make the narcissist understand that you won’t be swayed or dominated.

By taking the lead and setting the tone in your interactions, you can create a more balanced dynamic and reduce their ability to exert control.

This shift allowed me to regain a sense of power and maintain a healthier relationship with the narcissist in my life.

13. Unfollow, Disconnect, or Block Them on Social Media

Narcissists often try to use these platforms as tools to maintain control and manipulate relationships.

I found that by unfollowing or disconnecting from them, I regained a sense of autonomy and limited the opportunities for their manipulation.

You see, narcissists hate being restricted from such channels as it limits their influence.

But this shift allowed me to reclaim my personal space and boundaries, reducing the chances of being forced to communicate on their terms.

Use privacy settings to control what they can see. Ensure you have a supportive network offline to maintain communication and emotional well-being.

14. Put Your Happiness First

It’s easy to get entangled in a narcissist’s web, constantly trying to meet their demands and expectations.

But it’s also important to remember that when a person is a narcissist, they think they’re the center of the universe.

So, I shifted my focus towards my well-being and happiness.

This change in perspective allowed me to regain control over my life, setting boundaries, and ensuring that my own happiness wasn’t sacrificed for the sake of my mom’s insatiable needs.

15. Revert the Attention Back to You

Another effective way to turn the tables on narcissists is to revert the attention back to you.

Narcissists thrive on being the center of attention, so shifting the focus back to yourself can disrupt their manipulative games.

When you assert your presence and make them feel like they’re not in control of the situation, you regain some power in the relationship.

This approach allowed me to break free from the constant manipulation and regain a sense of self in interactions with my narcissistic mother.

Ask the narcissist’s thoughts on a topic unrelated to themselves. This subtly shifts the focus and can disrupt their manipulation.

What to Expect When You Confront a Narcissist in Your Family?

When you confront a narcissist, whether or not they’re diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, you can expect several common behaviors from them. 

Don’t forget that they will deny any wrongdoing, avoiding responsibility for their actions. They may try to control the narrative by manipulating you into believing you’re the one in the wrong.

Gaslighting is a common tool in their arsenal, making you question your reality.

Additionally, they excel at playing the victim, portraying themselves as the injured party. To deflect accountability, they may divert the conversation away from the issue at hand.

Recognizing these tactics is essential when dealing with a narcissist and asserting your boundaries, ensuring you prioritize your well-being and lead your best life.

Don’t Stress Out, Have Fun With It

Understanding how to turn the table on a narcissist is a challenging but empowering journey.

But instead of succumbing to the stress their manipulations can bring, approach it with a sense of determination and even humor.

Remember, you’re reclaiming your life, setting boundaries, and taking charge. It’s not about changing them but about embracing your newfound strength.

So, stay resilient, focus on your well-being, and turn the tables in your favor, all while keeping a sense of lightness and self-assurance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What words can destroy a narcissist?

Words that can potentially challenge a narcissist are those that assert boundaries and demand accountability. For example, firmly stating, “I won’t tolerate disrespectful behavior” or “You need to take responsibility for your actions” will disrupt their manipulative tendencies.

How do you outsmart a narcissist?

Outsmarting a narcissist involves staying emotionally detached, setting clear boundaries, and not engaging in their manipulative games. Maintain your own emotional well-being and not fall into their traps by refusing to react emotionally to their provocations.

How do you take power from a narcissist?

Taking power from a narcissist means establishing boundaries, prioritizing your well-being, and refusing to be a pawn in their manipulations. Seeking support from a network of friends, therapists, or support groups can help you regain control and reduce the narcissist’s influence over your life.

How do you shut down a narcissist?

You can shut down a narcissist by not reacting emotionally to their provocations and consistently asserting your boundaries. Maintain self-confidence and do not allow their attempts to manipulate or control the situation to succeed.

How do you overpower a narcissist?

Overpowering a narcissist is not the goal. Instead, focus on reclaiming your own power and well-being by setting clear boundaries and maintaining emotional detachment.

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